Why Saving Cash in a Jar Might Be Easier Than Saving in the Bank

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KEY POINTS

  • Seeing your cash pile physically grow in front of you can be motivating.
  • You're still better off keeping money in a savings account so you can earn interest and protect your cash from getting lost or stolen.

It might seem like the easiest way to save, but it's not necessarily the best way.

For the past few years, my kids have been getting some of their birthday and holiday gifts in cash form. Now, we're not talking about huge sums of money -- rather, $25 here and $50 there. But from the moment they started getting that money, my husband and I have made a point to teach them to put their cash into their savings accounts. 

Of course, this is often met with resistance, at least from my 8-year-old twins. My 11-year-old is more on board with the idea of keeping money in an actual bank. 

But the way my daughters see it, they like to actually watch their savings grow. And keeping bills in a piggy bank lends to that.

I understand their logic. And it's one some adults might follow, too. But while you may find it easier to keep your savings in actual cash, putting your money into the bank is a far better bet.

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The upside of keeping your money in a savings account

Let's say you're trying to meet a savings goal, so you buy a large jar and fill it with bills whenever you have the opportunity. It can be really motivating to watch that jar getting all filled up. And so it's easy to see why some people might prefer to keep their savings in actual cash that they can see and touch when they want to.

But putting your money into a savings account is a much better bet for a few reasons. First, when you keep physical cash around, you never know when it might get lost or stolen. You might, for example, take some bills out of your cash jar to count them, only to accidentally drop a $20 behind your dresser. 

In the case of my daughters, I don't really trust them not to lose physical bills. With adults, losing physical cash is less likely. But it could happen. However, if you have $300 and you put it into the bank and don't take a withdrawal, your money won't get lost. 

Of course, to make sure your money is really protected, you'll need to check to see if your bank is FDIC-insured. You can use this tool to do so.

Plus, when you keep your money in a savings account, you get to earn interest on it. And that could allow it to grow into a larger sum over time. 

There are many high-yield savings accounts paying over 4% interest these days. So let's say you put $1,000 into a savings account and snag a 4% interest rate on it. After a year, you'll have earned an extra $40. If you keep that cash in a jar in your bedroom, you won't earn anything extra on it.

A different way to motivate yourself

It's easy to see why watching your savings grow can be appealing. But if you put your money into a savings account, you can always check your balance weekly, monthly, or at whatever schedule works best for you and track your progress that way. 

Another good bet? Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings at the start of each month. That's a great way to help ensure you stay on track with your savings goals.

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Rates as of Jul 13, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
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4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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APY: 4.25%

APY: 4.50%

Min. to earn APY: $1

Min. to earn APY: $0.01

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